High-Road-Artist Blog

“Knitting With Nature’s Gifts”

Written on 02/09/2018
Jeane George Weigel

Photo: Put together by a blog reader whose name, alas, I never had…

I first met Jennifer when I started using a new face care product, Evanhealy’s Coconut Cream Cleanser. They suggested using a soft, organic cotton cloth to wipe the cream away after washing. So, me being me, I went directly to Google. I figured I was splurging on my face with this new stuff and may as well go all the way with a special wash cloth.

And there she was in an Etsy shop, https://www.etsy.com/shop/HippySticks/items. I didn’t know anything, really, about Etsy. So I moseyed through the site itself and then all through Jennifer’s HippySticks shop and I found this wonderful organic cotton washcloth that I recognized as my cloth!

They came in sets of two, if I remember correctly, one cream and one brown. But I only wanted the cream. So I put in a special request and Jennifer was happy to sell me sets of all cream instead.

And here is what I couldn’t have known beforehand, but I should have: Jennifer knits something of herself and her vision into everything she makes, and that’s no small thing.

I received the cloths and they filled my house with her. To give you some idea of what that means, here she is, herself, speaking, “It has been a journey (for the whole family) to teach our kids to live lightly from the ground up and appreciate the process from wee seedlings to towering plants as we try to teach them to be not so sucky humans (planet is full of them) and to help them achieve their own self sufficiency.”

That’s what came with the cloths, that kind of clarity of purpose. And they carried with them, too, the vitality of good young people coming up behind us who are paying attention and are creative and smart. And that gives me hope for our planet’s future. It gives me hope for me in fact.

Well, I had to have some more of that!

Jennifer and her family are homesteaders and home schoolers. Here’s Jennifer again,”We grow an overwhelming amount of food which we subsequently can / bake / freeze etc. Our kids help with growing, harvesting, and cooking within their age ranges and skill sets.”

Photo: HippySticks/Jennifer

“We grow wheat, corn, beans, cucumbers, strawberries, hops, peas, 144 square feet of various greens, pumpkins, squash, peppers, onions, garlic, dedicated herb garden, edible flowers like borage and nasturtiums, tomatillos, cabbages, turnips, carrots, parsnips…. etc… etc…”

I love the photo, below, that Jennifer sent along with that one above and one more you’ll see later in the post. Is she knitting? Having a cup of tea? Glass of wine? The frigid outdoor reality of her winter in Maine, contrasted by her bare feet and the radiator within… feels almost ancient to me. Something about it touches me so deeply.

Photo: HippySticks/Jennifer

So I took a prowl through her shop again to see what I might be able to justify buying and fell upon these, her scrubbies. They’re made from felted wool…

… and they WORK! Toss out your Dobies and use these natural, long-lasting, washable, home-made alternatives instead. I fell in love with them!

And that was before I found out I could custom order them from this whole pallet!

At Christmastime when I ordered the scrubbies below, the whole pallet of colors wan’t available but I had fun getting pink and aqua mixed in with the brown and tweed…

And what, you may be asking, are those magnificent frothy things in the background of the scrubbies photo?

Well those represent my next foray into HippySticks: Dishcloths!

These are her 100% organic cotton dish cloths! The colors are endless if you custom order, which Jennifer makes very easy to do.

These are such small things but somehow they re-bring fresh beauty and hope into my house, these hand-made gems… Per Jennifer, “Knitting is cathartic for me, a form of meditation in motion. I endeavor to create beautiful, comfortable and functional pieces that will be treasured for years to come.”

Some days holding onto the small beauties in a life is practically everything.

Art. In all its forms, has the capacity to heal I continue to believe. Both by being in its presence and by making it. And all of us, as artists, must support the inspiration of others’ art whenever we can, especially when drawn to it as I’ve been to Jennifer’s.

Another reconnaissance into Jennifer’s Etsy shop led me to take a real look at the thumbnail photo, below, on her home page. What was this, I wanted to know, and was it available for sale? I wasn’t sure of the colors for me but that knit STITCH! (Is that what you call the actual shape of the knitting itself, the way it takes on all of those cables and those holes?) Anyway I loved that, I told Jennifer…

But it wasn’t available, it belonged to her personally.

What about doing a custom project for me based on this piece, I asked? Did she have the time and, if so, could she give me an approximate cost? She did! So we began…

I was amazed at the swatches she happily, patiently made whenever I was interested in trying a new yarn. If not for this I would have been happy with the piece, represented by the first and second swatch left to right below, but not over the moon as I was with the finished piece, represented by that far right swatch:

Here I am in early November, I think it was, trying on my gorgeous new art piece…

… in my light weight summer clothes because we’ve had almost no winter here this year and I had this luscious, warm cowl waiting for our temps to drop so I could wear the exquisite thing!

Finally, despite no snow, the temperatures did dip and I slipped it on. It warmed me as I sat right here at my desk (which can get chilly!) writing…

My friend chuckled at me as I drove her home and asked her to take a photo of the cowl aspect of the piece. It’s not exactly what I wanted. I wanted it taken in a blizzard so you could really see how this was designed to be so functional…

… but I’ll take what I can get… Look at these colors!

Beyond being quintessentially me, these brilliant, dazzling colors…

… so well represent the sublime place I feel happy to call my home…

And I haven’t even showed you some of the wonderful things she has ready-made and on her Etsy site. I love all of her baby things, especially her variety of booties, these felted little numbers are favorites…

… and the very solid little princess design somehow captures, for me, the new female animas of strength, capability AND a right to girly-girlishness all at the same time. One does not negate the other.

These booties tell the world that your new daughter/granddaughter/niece is ready for the emerging female psyche! And she’ll wear ruffles if she wants, dang it!

And these, well there just are no words.  I mean look at them! Have you ever seen anything cuter?

Her heirloom baby blankets are extraordinary…

… and her various baskets and bags are very functional and beautiful… Take a stroll through her shop, you may find your own heirloom.

And so this little family lives on, consciously, lightly, as Jennifer says, “…  we have a little over an acre which is bound on one side by a river. We have the ‘grow food not lawn’ mentality and have over the years converted the majority of our grass to food. We grow an overwhelming amount of food…”

Photo: HippySticks/Jennifer

“It’s not just about the growing / canning though,” Jennifer says, “It is a mind set of responsibility. Like choosing bulk packaging versus individually wrapped little boxes, extending generosity and kindness, and leaving my community better than I found it.”

Now that’s something I can get behind! Thank you, Jennifer, for the luminous beauty you create from “nothing.” You’re an inspiration.

Love to you all,